Psycho Guinea Fowl --- Any Ideas Why?


6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
I wanted to keep Guinea fowl due to enormous population of paralysis ticks. So I bought six, a mix of colors. Only a week old.

First they shared an aviary with our budgies. But they kept attacking the budgies, which were the same size as them, so we removed them to a cage in a fallow garden bad, full of good green pick and tons of bugs. They did well, all the little kids brought them grasshoppers, they were friendly.

The trouble came when we allowed them to free range with the chooks so they could perform their intended tick-killing duties when they got old enough; (old enough in my book is about 2 weeks at the most) while they didn't attack chooks, they couldn't resist baby turkeys, and when they were about two weeks old and the same size as the turkeys, the 'weepoos' as we called them because of the noise they made, would grab a baby turkey by the wing, throw it on its back and go for the guts. They had ample protein. Why would they do this? Any suggestions? That was the first and last time I kept Guinea fowl, by the way. I'm open to the idea of another batch not ending up the same.
Maybe your turkeys look sick to them? I know that in the bird world, it is survival of the fittest. They kill the weak so the strong can move on.
Most likely there were just not enough of their own kind to keep them occupied with each other, tho that's usually a behavior seen in mature birds, not keets. Integration with other poultry needs to be done gradually with Guineas, with plenty of exposure to the other birds, but wire separating everybody so nobody gets hurt or picked on. Try twice that many keets next time (if there is a next time for you), and house them side by side with your other poultry (separated by wire for several weeks, even as long as 6 wks) so they all get to know each other and can bond before you let them all free range together.

At 2 wks old they should still be in a brooder with a heat source.. they can't regulate their body temp until fully feathered at 6 wks old. So while you may have been feeding them enough protein, they were most likely using all of their energy trying to stay warm... so that may be the main reason they cannibalized your poults (but most likely all the issues you had with them were from not enough integration time with your other poultry).
I have turkeys, guineas, buff orpingtons, ducks, Banties, and peafowl. IV never had a problem with my guineas being aggressive toward anything. When the Guinea were younger they roosted in the pen I kept baby ducks in. When I started letting my ducks out to free range during the day the Guinea would round the ducks up in the evening and take them back to the pen to roost. After awhile the ducks just stated following them back in on their own in the evenings. The guineas don't roost there now they stay in trees or on the house :/ can't get them to roost in the coop. But they will go in the coop during the day? I have seen them chase the dig the cat squirrels other wild birds a poor toad lol but they stay away from my chickens for the most part. And are scared of the peafowl. But they like the turkeys. They roost with and eat with them and will sometimes groom them? Or that's what it looks like anyways and the turkeys don't seem to mind.
Seems you guys have thought of some likely answers. Thanks. I did socialize them prematurely, in retrospect, and you can't take birds bred and kept in artificial environments and just bung them out into a more natural environment, but I only learned that after having keets. I was surprised babies that young would act like that but now I know it's actually not uncommon. The keet-keeping episode only happened early on in my poultry keeping, not that I've necessarily learnt more about them since.

As for the temperature, they were out and about in the middle of summer in the tropics --- and it gets HOT here --- and at night it was balmy, never close to actually cold, and they were snuggled under a foster mother they never bothered to snuggle during the daytime. During winter I'm sure the story would have been different as it is for chooks/turkeys/geese, etc. I let my babies freerange with their mothers from their second week of age and a good mother always 'recharges' her cold babies whenever they need it. I found that mix breeds kept on a more natural diet are fully feathered much sooner than six weeks; some are covered up completely by their third week.

But when it comes to Guinea Fowl, I'm quite clueless. Thanks for your suggestions and advice. I do intend to keep some again in future. They say there are no paralysis ticks various parts of Australia we've found them. Really, all it takes is that one host that makes it beyond the usual tick boundary and there you go... So Guinea Fowl do seem a good idea. Nearly lost my old cat 5 times now to paralysis ticks.

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